sing songs and learn dances relevant to the rhythms
and tap into the ancient knowledge of the West African Mande musical tradition
This goes way beyond a drum circle!Campers will not only learn patterns on djembe and develop skills to solo but will also learn the interlocking patterns on the dunun – the soul of the West African Mande drumming tradition. These rhythms can be extremely challenging, even to pro drummers!
Learning to play dunun
Masks and dance
Masks and dance
But with the guidance of guest instructor Anna Melnikoff, West African Drumming week at MusiCamp is set up to engage and teach the absolute inexperienced while at the same time provide on-going challenges for advanced drummers. And of course, at the end of the week, campers will perform for friends and family!
End of Week Performance 2013
Below is a slightly edited video is from our 2013 week-end performance of the children-composed rhythm “Timbaraba.”
NOTE: Because the speakers of computers and portable devices aren’t designed to capture the bass, to hear the dunun pattern you need to listen to this video with headphones or good speakers.
Although it is difficult to see, at the back left are 3 double headed drums known as dunun. The dunun play a complex interlocking rhythm upon which the djembes play another rhythm or solo.
Have a song you want to sing? A story you want to tell? Through a series of musical games, exercises, songwriting workshops and the study of different elements of music, aspiring songwriters and singers put their ideas to music.
Stringing up diddley bos
Practicing bucket basses
Set List for end of week performance
Painting bucket basses
In a fun and practical way, campers are introduced to aspects of songwriting, like hooks, riffs, harmony, and rhythmic accompaniment, chorus-verse format, basic chord progressions, intros and outros, rhyming and storytelling – useful skills/review for even the more experienced song-writers.
Besides the tonne of musical games and other fun-in-the-park activities we do every week (including pizza-making in the park), campers will:
learn about composition and form, intros/outros, verses/choruses, hooks, accompaniment, etc.
explore and recognize a variety of chord progressions
write lyrics, compose and arrange their own songs
By the end of the week campers will have written and/or collaborated on the creation of original songs and arrangements. Kids who already have basic instrumental skills are encouraged to bring their instrument. The week ends with a world premiere performances of our songwriter’s compositions!
Are you interested in taking your hand-drumming practice to the next level? Ecole de Djembe is now offering a weekly drop-in djembe and dundun class every Monday evening, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. All levels are welcome.
Students will be introduced to beautiful traditional polyrhythms from the Mande culture of West Africa (Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire), played on djembe and dunduns. We will start each class by focusing on basic and foundational techniques, followed by djembe and dundun accompaniments, simple solos and variations, improvisational techniques, cultural context, and occasionally traditional songs. Typically we will work on a single rhythm over several weeks. At the end of each class, students can make a clean recording of whatever we’ve learned.
Cost for a single drop-in class is $20, or you can pre-register for 6 classes for $100. Bring your own djembe if you have one; djembes and dunduns also available for student use if needed.If you’ve never tried hand drumming before, or your only exposure so far has been a drum circle, these classes are an excellent way to deepen your knowledge, skill and comprehension of the complexity of world rhythmaculture. Not only is it fun, it also brings numerous health and spiritual/emotional benefits.
Drumming has been clinically proven to:
– reduce blood pressure, tension, anxiety and stress
– boost immune system response
– assist in controlling chronic pain
– release negativity, emotional blockages and trauma
– improve focus, symptoms of ADD and dyslexia
Additionally, at the community level, hand drumming helps to create a sense of connectedness to Spirit, Self, and to others. In traditional Mande culture, the word ‘djembe’ is said to mean, literally, ‘to come together in joy/celebration’, and drumming is an integral part of all traditional community health.
About the instructor: Shortly after Anna Melnikoff began studying advanced metaphysics, meditation, and vibrational healing in 1996, she stumbled upon her first djembe and was called to study traditional Mande drumming. Her love affair with traditional Mande polyrhythms led her to Guinea, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and all over North America in search of teachers. Her formative training was with the lineage of Malinke master drummer Famoudou Konate and his extended family.
Having experienced the highest potential of transformative mastery in her West African studies, Anna knows that study of the djembe will be a lifelong practice for her. Aside from teaching weekly classes both north of the city and out of her downtown studio, she currently teaches djembe at York University, where she began training the first York Mande Drum Ensemble in 2003. She’s been relentless in her commitment to accurately transmitting traditional djembe and dundun teaching to her diverse students. As a teacher, she’s gifted in her ability to translate traditional Mande musical and cultural concepts for novices; in a sense, preparing her students for a deeper level of traditional study with African teachers. Anna has been instrumental in planting the seeds of traditional djembe music in the GTA and beyond, regularly organizing and sponsoring workshops with visiting master drummers in the GTA.
Anna has shared the stage with a number of master drummers over the years, and she’s a regular performer with the Lua Shayenne Dance Company, and a member of Akwaba Cultural Exchange, with whom she performs traditional Ivoirian drum and dance. She also formed a few groups – Bolokelen, from 1999 to 2006; Moussoufolila, an all-female group formed in 2010; and Saboumando, formed in 2015.
The training in metaphysics, meditation and vibrational healing has continued along with the drumming – Anna has been teaching advanced vibrational systems of Power, Energy and Healing work in the form of practical training in the use of the mind as an instrument of frequency for healing and manifestation.
This year, for the first time, Anna will also be teaching at the Ontario Womyn’s Drum Camp, from June 16-19 in Haliburton ON. She is also a certified meditation, vibrational healing, and elemental shamanism instructor with the Training in Power Academy, and offers introductory 4-week courses on meditation, vibrational healing, and advanced metaphysics at her studio.
Our Composition and Song week is always so creative!!! And so productive!!!
What you’re hearing right now is an original song written by the MusiCamp campers from the Composition & Song week of 2013. We run a slew of creative song writing exercises throughout the week, some where the campers work independently on theirs songs, others where they work in groups. These exercises challenge the kids to think of how a pop song is made and the different components that make an effective song – the hook, the chorus, the intro, the verses, the ending, etc.The young campers also learn to identify chord structures in a very practical and accessible way. They even make instruments, like the diddley bow or the bucket bass, and are able to play the basic I IV V chord structure on the instrument!
By the way, ICE CREAM! was written as a collaborative exercise where all the campers contributed to the making of this song. And every year, in just one week’s time, these inspired youngsters write wonderful music! It is always such a blessing to work with these young creative minds!
This year Composition & Song week runs from July 15-19, 9am – 4pm. We still have spots! You can register here.
MusiCamp is happy to announce our new Roots Music guest host Hannah Shira Naiman!
It’s with mixed emotions that we must say goodbye to Rosalyn Dennett, the former guest-host of Roots Music Week. We are happy to congratulate Rosalyn on her new position as the Membership Services Coordinator of the Canadian Independent Music Association and Music Ontario!! Our best wishes extend to her and we are sad to see her go but thankfully we have found the wonderful Hannah Shira Naiman – an acclaimed musician, dancer and educator – to take on the guest-host of Roots Music Week.
Hannah Shira Naiman, Roots Music Instructor
Hannah Shira Naiman grew up just north of Toronto- a few thousand miles away from the hills of Appalachia- and yet her family home was always full of the sounds from that land. Raised by a banjo plucking Pa, and a children’s musician/dance caller/fiddling Ma, her home was a hub for American roots music in the cold heart of a Canadian metropolis. Hannah performs her original banjo driven songs internationally, and is backed by a stand-up traditional stringband. In addition to her career as a songwriter, Hannah is a traditional dance and music leader based in Toronto, Ontario. A fiddler, banjoist, guitar player, dancer and singer- Hannah has taught the gamut to all ages. Although she was trained classically in her youth, Hannah’s teaching method is to organically and joyfully immerse in the music. www.hannahshiranaiman.com.